Christmas to be enjoyed or endured?

What is your instant reaction to this question?  Some people love Christmas and look forward to it all year, the season of good will to all, time to spend with loved ones, the exchanging of gifts and the over indulgence in Christmas foods.  When you look at it like this what is not to love or enjoy?

What if life isn’t like that for you, what if Christmas represents the exact opposite for you?  A time which evokes feelings you manage really well the rest of the year?  For some people, it is a time of loneliness and dread, the fear of family feuds, or highlighting the absence of family, the pressure of expectation to buy gifts you can’t afford and the judgement for admitting you find this time of year difficult.

I’m going to share something quite personal, in the hope that it will help others in a similar situation to me, those who feel that this is a time to endure, you are not alone.  Firstly I want you to know that it is ok to find this time of year difficult and to admit that.  For me, I don’t really have any family, so this time of year highlights something which is missing in my life.  Alongside that, in the past 15 months I have had to deal with two bereavements, so this year Christmas feels even harder than normal and the sooner it is over the better.

For those who enjoy Christmas, to dare to say that taboo phrase ‘I don’t really like Christmas’ brings with it a chorus of ‘Bah humbug’ or ‘Scrooge’ or something similar… People say this without thinking or knowing my situation, and I find myself defending my feelings at a time when I am already feeling sensitive.  I am sure I am not the only one and that is the reason I am sharing a little of my story with you in this blog.

Like many others in my position, I don’t want to taint this time of year for those who love Christmas.  So I try to be happy and jolly for them, when inside I might be feeling sad and wish I could hide away until it is all over.  For many years I joined in with other people’s Christmas, people who didn’t want me to be alone on the day, they showed me kindness and generosity for which I am grateful, but it was difficult for me, I felt out of place.

As a coach I knew I needed to live life more in line with my values, so I made a decision, not a popular one, but one I am really comfortable with.  I now opt out of Christmas; I choose to do what makes this time of year that little bit more enjoyable for me.  I take some extra me time, I do the things I love, a walk on the beach, eat some nice food and I rest and relax, and I give myself the gift of time and space to be me.

So if you are like me and find this a tricky time of year, be gentle with yourself, demonstrate self-care, ask yourself what is it you need to make this time of year easier for you?  Maybe find that one person you can trust who you can really be yourself with, to hear how you are feeling and to support you through this difficult time.  Alternatively seek support from other sources, there are many organisations there to help you, you are not alone.  If you are interested in trying coaching, I offer a free 30 minute sample session, you can book yours by clicking this link.

Remember Christmas is to be enjoyed by the many, but endured by the few.  Next time you feel like this, or meet someone who feels like this, I invite you to show to the real meaning of Christmas, love and compassion, good will to all.  Instead of chiming ‘Bah humbug’, smile and acknowledge how that person may be feeling, maybe even offer them a hug, it could be the greatest gift you can give this year.

Until next time,


Author emrcoach

More posts by emrcoach

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Martin says:

    It depends what we describe as ‘Christmas’. Yes it’s a time to celebrate family but does that mean we have to put up with abusive or intolerant members? No, we can forgive but we do not need to endure. Does it mean we have to buy gifts for everyone? No. Do we have to have some work endlessly in kitchens and stress out about delivering a great meal year on year? No. We have become accustomed to a commericalised version of Christmas that bears little relationship to any of the ‘good’ in the original message.

    It is fun to go out, see old friends again, give a few thoughtful gifts, eat festive foods and decorate but when you look at what is portrayed as ‘normal’ Christmas today (and for some time back) it is a treadmill. For non-Christians, enjoy some time off and think about friendship, foregiveness and peace in your own way.

    For Christians, go back to the story behind it and just say NO to the hype. It is much more enjoyable.

    The only reason we would not like Christmas is because we have chosen to follow a trend that does not suit us. So stop, and tell people why you’re doing things differently. They might be relieved too!

  • Hi Emma
    Really identify with your feelings at this time of year. The Christmas 2012 was 2 months before my Mum departed to forever sleep, she announced it would be her last Christmas and she would not see the next..we were all quite dismissive of her statement…in the February she passed away suddenly, death to diagnosis 1 week, from Myeloma bone cancer.
    Betty knew her aching bones and tiredness was something more, how we wish we had taken the time to listen and not sweep her statement away, we wish so many things…now all too late. For 3 years my Dad ignored Christmas, it was a time of sadness for him and he too wanted to be alone and do his thing. We respected his wishes, eventually, two great grandchildren later, his excitement has been re ignited, Betty’s favourite tree and decorations, have been set up this year, the secret “irish stuffing” recipe found from the old cookery book, to be brought back to life for one performance only! I used to be guilty of the bah humbug statement and I now know to be kinder to people and never assume and listen. Wishing you the all best Emma this Christmas and for a Fab 2017.

Leave a Reply